What’s normal for you and me might not be normal for someone we know who lives abroad. Or their neighbor. One of the harsh truths of life is that reality isn’t always as objective as we might think it is.

In a viral thread, Redditors shared the best examples of what’s completely normal for people from their country and absolutely weird for foreigners. We’ve compiled some of the best answers that we hope will make you smile and laugh.

Scroll down and upvote your favorite things that are normal for some people, but are unusual for the rest of the world. If you enjoyed this list, why not share it with your friends? And be sure to let everyone know in the comments if you’ve got any of your own stories about what’s normal for your country, but that you realize to be strange when you go abroad.

#1

Going bankrupt from medical debt. (USA)

Ceredwyn Ealanta
Community Member
11 months ago

We don't just find it weird, we find it sad and we're worried about if you're okay.

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#2

Everyone rags on the US for using imperial, but can we talk for a second about how weird we are here in the UK for using both inconsistently?

You buy a pint of milk or beer, but a litre of coke and 25ml of whiskey

People know how many miles to the gallon their cars get, but you buy fuel at pence per litre.

You watch the weather forecast and the temperature is in Celsius but the wind speed is in miles per hour

Most people can tell you their weight in kilograms, and their height in feet, and if they can't give you kilograms they can probably give you stone instead, which is even older than pounds, which nobody uses as a unit of measurement, probably because of the confusion between lbs and £...

It's a glorious mess.

Nunya
Community Member
11 months ago

The US also uses Metric...and Imperial. Perhaps not that the extent described. But alcohol, soda, and other products are measured in liters, milliliters, etc. Milk, water, etc are in gallons, ounces, etc. medications are in milligrams but food is in ounces/pounds.

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#3

upset? have a cup of tea

happy? cup of tea

bored? cup of tea

literally any feeling? cup of tea

edit: yes, I’m from the UK, tea is our answer to all of life’s problems.

Lucas
Community Member
11 months ago

Yep, tea. I'm in the UK. My sister got married and had an afternoon tea party. FFS. Celebrating with bloody tea.

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Reddit user Ojlol2’s thread on the ‘Ask Reddit’ subreddit got more than 63,000 upvotes in a day, as well as over 48,000 comments. Wow, now that’s a lot of people wanting to share their experience about how normality can differ from nation to nation.

From bizarre actions to eyebrow-raising phrases, there will always be things that seem out of place, as long as different countries, cultures, and ethnicities exist. And it’s a wonderful thing because a shift in your perspective can lead to more creativity and a more objective understanding of yourself.

#4

Unsuccessfully helping your dad look for one of his missing thongs and then watching him squeeze into one of your mum's so he can go out into the back yard and get the laundry. I'm told the rest of you (incorrectly) call them flip flops. (Australia)

Community Member
11 months ago

I was picturing the dad squeezing into tiny thong underwear. Quite the mental image!

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#5

Eating with our hands.

In 1969 (the same year the man landed on the moon), Miss Gloria Diaz coveted the Philippines' first Miss Universe Crown. During the preliminary Q&A, she was asked "Is it true that you Filipinos use your hand when you eat?" To which she replied "Why? Do you use your feet?" and went her way to winning the crown. (Phillipines)

nanashi
Community Member
11 months ago

HAH I would definitely use that response in the future!

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#6

Tax not included in advertised price (USA)

Foxxy
Community Member
11 months ago

I just find that weird.

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The United States of America is one of the most powerful countries on Planet Earth, but it doesn’t mean that everything its citizens do is the norm across the world. Some things are minor differences. While some take you aback, make you stop, and keep you awake at night thinking about the cosmos, Multiverse theory, and humankind as a whole.

#7

Bears on motorcycles driving on roads, drinking vodka and playing balalaikas.

...

...

...

Hahaha! Gotcha. What I said was untrue. Russia doesn't have roads.

Katchen
Community Member
11 months ago

Ha!

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#8

Putting broken glass bottles on the walls around your house so burglars cant jump it and rob you. I moved to Canada and they don't even have walls around the houses! (Brazil)

Guido Pisano
Community Member
11 months ago

It is not so common but you can find also in italy

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#9

Having a reality tv star as president (USA)

Emerald Joanna
Community Member
11 months ago

Or an actor as president? Or a non-American actor as governor? Americans must think that people in the public eye are automatically qualified to run things...

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For example, one thing that is really odd is how Americans write today’s date by starting with the month, then writing down the day, and ending with the year. Most countries in the world start with the day or end with it. While we’re on the subject, how is it that the US still uses the Imperial System? It seems like the American War of Independence didn’t get rid of all of Britain’s influence over the colonies.

#10

In my high school (US) we had a group of australian students come to live a day in the life of an american high school. They all thought it was so bizarre and cult-ish that every morning we had to stand and recite the pledge of allegiance to the flag with our hands over our hearts. I couldn't agree more that it is, indeed, bizarre and cult-ish.

Katchen
Community Member
11 months ago

Agreed. It’s creepy af.

Jordan W.
Community Member
11 months ago (edited)

I'm a Singaporean. A "morning assembly" lasts 30 mins. We do the same thing, every fucking day (full national anthem and school song) and the pledge thingy. When I moved to Australia, I was so fking shocked because there's no pledge, half the national anthem and like a 50 secs for school song, only like once a month.

Christine Holl
Community Member
11 months ago

You actually do that? I always assumed it was a 90's movie trope.

A B C
Community Member
11 months ago

Can't believe it either.

Nagawa (Cofa) Kishiki
Community Member
11 months ago

It is not bizarre or anything, it is how brainwashing looks like.

Beatrice Alighieri
Community Member
11 months ago (edited)

Totally agree. And if anyone think it's not, imagine this: I was a high school exchange student in the US over 40 years ago for only 6 months - and to this day I can still recite the allegiance by heart.

Community Member
11 months ago

Yes. I was born and raised in the US but moved to Spain as a teen. I look back upon the pledge of allegiance and YIKES. Looks like something out of a dystopian sci-fi film.

Uwe Theiss
Community Member
11 months ago

As a german it is part of our history to reflect about the time things like this were common over here the last time. So everytime someone shows this type of patriotism I think it is weird.

A B C
Community Member
11 months ago

As a German, all signs of patriotism are considered weird, because we "are still guilty for the last time we tried to show patriotism". Not my opinion, but quite a popular one. There's one exception, though: every four years during soccer world cup. German national flags everywhere! One week after we're done, they're all gone again.

Ryo Bakura
Community Member
11 months ago

All patriotism is bizarre. But Americans take that shit to a whole new level.

Community Member
6 months ago

as an american i agree

Ceredwyn Ealanta
Community Member
11 months ago

I find it creepy that if you don't agree with parts of it you're being forced to break your word every day. That's very painful.

Lauren Baker
Community Member
11 months ago

I'm Canadian and American and live in the US and I hate this. I usually replace the word God with Dogs because I'm athiest and nobody even notices. 😂

Suzanne Harris
Community Member
11 months ago

All hail our fluffy overlords!

Martin Mcbride
Community Member
11 months ago

Yep, that's fucking creepy

Rens S
Community Member
11 months ago

I didnt think that was actually a thing

Jenica Thomas
Community Member
11 months ago

Definitely a thing. I don't specifically remember when my schools stopped doing it. High school maybe? We definitely did it in elementary and at least part of middle schools. It's such a weird thing. Under God? What happened to separation of church and state. What about those who don't believe in God, or in the Christian/Catholic God? I never understood it.

European other
Community Member
11 months ago

Yeah it's kinda strange

Lynda Momalo
Community Member
11 months ago

What's worse is that the pledge includes (since the 1950s) the phrase "under God" (which breaks our own Constitutional rule about not having a state religion and having a separation between church and state.) "Under God" was added during/as a result of, the McCarthy era, during the Communist Witch Hunts (it was supposed to be an opposition to the "godless Communists.) Laws do now allow students to choose to not stand or take the pledge but some schools still punish students that exercise that right.

rai mei
Community Member
11 months ago

nah, we have this in the Philippines. Some schools even recite two pledges after singing the national hymn in the morning.

Nathalie Langevin
Community Member
11 months ago

With what the US has become, it must be very difficult to recite a pledge to that country!

Esca Sav
Community Member
1 month ago

You technically do not have to stand and pledge, but sit and respectfully stay quiet to those who want to. However, a lot of teachers find it offensive and will still try to get you in trouble.

bee pot
Community Member
11 months ago

meh I grew up with it. it's like the morning bell. you don't really believe in what you're saying, it just signifies the beginning of the day. but it is bizarre now that I think about it in depth.

Oscar Goytia
Community Member
11 months ago

We do this in Mexico, but it's once a week. It goes with other stuff like important historical dates.

Color Dots
Community Member
11 months ago

Nikki D
Community Member
11 months ago

I actually missed it when my school stopped doing it, I don't really remember why I liked it so much, though. To add to this, if you don't stand up for the pledge at a high School football game you are going to get beat up. Or at least in my day, I'm 31!

Dawn Ours
Community Member
10 months ago

Back off there is NOT one thing wrong with pledging an oath by choice, bending the knee to someone who was born into a family with the right pedigree ??? Dr's pledge an oath to do no harm (would you go to one who didn't?), Lawyers take oaths , "Oath" is a promise that when you keep it shows Your character or Lack of it when you break it. some traditions are worth keeping ...people of good character know that....

Blub Blub Blub
Community Member
10 months ago

Reciting the pledge takes about ten seconds. Around 380 days in a school year. If you stay in school from kindergarten into twelth grade, that's 13 years. Which means you would have spent 49400 seconds reciting America's pledge. Which converts into nearly 14 hours of reciting the pledge.

Vincent Jay
Community Member
10 months ago

I went to a high school which is owned and operated by the Congregation of the Holy Cross (CSC, Congregatio Sancte Cruce), the same people who operate Notre Dame University. I don't recall ever having recited the pledge of allegiance, but I do remember that each and every class throughout the day was preceded by prayer led by the teacher.

Meami
Community Member
11 months ago

It is weird. It started in the 20th century. For more fun pledge facts, go here: https://www.cnn.com/2013/09/04/us/pledge-of-allegiance-fast-facts/index.html

Rose Brien Harrington
Community Member
11 months ago

Brainwashing.

ChickyChicky
Community Member
11 months ago

Not everyone does it anymore. My kid's school doesn't. Which would make a lot of conservatives blood boil. Another reason we're a heathen leftist commie west coast city.

Ashley Galyen
Community Member
11 months ago

My dad had a pen pal and his daughter was my pen pal as a result. She thought it was odd that my school didn't have school uniforms and we recited the pledge every morning. I was told most Australians don't know their own pledge.

Community Member
11 months ago

Yet when I went to school in Oz in the 60’s we had to recite an oath. “I love god and my country, I honour the flag, I serve the Queen” etc.

Anna Salord
Community Member
11 months ago

Ewwww really!? All schools do that in the US?

Jennifer Metzger
Community Member
11 months ago

I too have always thought this!!!

John Ersoy
Community Member
4 months ago

It's almost like it was written by a socialist.

Sarah Hartness
Community Member
7 months ago

It's a show of respect to our country.

Tiffany Davis
Community Member
7 months ago

We had to do it twice in Texas. Pledging to the country AND our state.

Emi A.
Community Member
9 months ago

In Thailand you must do that everyday at 8am, 6pm, and every time before movie starts in cinemas. If you don't you can get killed in this country.

Maria Rohlen
Community Member
10 months ago

Sounds like North Korea.

Pat
Community Member
10 months ago

No it isn’t bizarre and it isn’t cultish. It is being an AMERICAN and proud of it.

panda_legerdemain
Community Member
11 months ago

It happens here in India too.. everyday it is recited, pledge and national anthem, both.. and with the right wing government, i think we’ll be reciting it day and night..

JJM
Community Member
11 months ago

Olli Glx
Community Member
11 months ago

Can't you just refuse to participate? Or would that automatically make you a traitor? Not trying to start anything, just very curious. I'm German and nationalism/patriotism is still, in my opinion rightly so (WW2), frowned upon.

Jinal P
Community Member
11 months ago

we did the pledge thing till school (10th grade)….recently our college has taken up a new rule of having national anthem played everyday at 11 AM...so you gotta stand up wherever you are...

Katinka Min
Community Member
11 months ago

It's brainwashing. This obsession with patriotism is just not healthy.

Steven Carter
Community Member
11 months ago

Racetracks Open with the National Anthem.

Mer
Community Member
11 months ago

That's how indoctrination works.

Karin Love
Community Member
11 months ago

Yep. Forced patriotism is creepy.

Suzanne Harris
Community Member
11 months ago

I refused to say the "under God" part because of "separation of church and state" and got in huge trouble. After that I started substituting it for words like bog and Bob and dog etc.

Russian Otaku
Community Member
11 months ago

That is actually on purpose and is cultish. Also not fun fact the retarded as fuck god shit is an illegal addition to the pledge. Americans also don't even know how to do their own pledge properly. USA stopped the Bellamy salute cause of how butt hurt it was that the Germans did it better

Krista Kelly
Community Member
11 months ago

I'm so glad I'm "old". I think disrespecting the country that allows you the rights to talk shitty about it without being thrown in prison is a pretty damn good place to be. The pledge is a show of respect. Something all your parents didn't teach you. It's not creepy. It's not bizarre. It's not dystopian. It's freaking respectful. No one's making you pledge or show respect, and sadly, that's pretty obvious.

Karin Love
Community Member
11 months ago

The flag doesn't give us any rights, the Constitution does. Adding "under God" is in direct violation of the Constitution so really, the pledge is disrespectful. And just for the record, not falling in with forced patriotism isn't a sign of disrespecting "the country." "With liberty and justice for all" are just empty words for a lot of people who love the pledge. Think about it.

Japu Uhuclan
Community Member
11 months ago

Neither I've ever heard our national anthem nor seen our flag once in my schools.Germany.I like our unpatriotic way.Never again.

Analyn Lahr
Community Member
11 months ago

And we're the only country that does this. At least it stops when you get to college (at least the one I went to). But you still have to do it at sporting events and some other events. I think. I don't go to sporting events. I know they do the National Anthem.

Laurie Stringer
Community Member
11 months ago

Wrong

Aaron Pie
Community Member
11 months ago

That is a bit weird trying to emulate a building.

Eva Bryson
Community Member
11 months ago

"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Karin Love
Community Member
11 months ago

Which God?

Viktor Feurer
Community Member
11 months ago

Having a bizarre event like this in the schools every day is a good indication of a country on the highway to hell. Pure brainwashing.

FloC
Community Member
11 months ago

I spent almost a year in the US in the 90's, went to a local high school and never saw that... And that was Alabama.

Jacob/Becca Gizmo the Squirrel
Community Member
11 months ago

I went to a private school in Alabama for k-8 in the 80's and early 90's. We lined up on the playground every morning to recite the pledge. No choice.

Sasy
Community Member
11 months ago

Depending on the age, schools in Australia used to sing national anthem everyday in assembly, seems the same to me.

Alex Bailey
Community Member
11 months ago

Didn't even do that in the UK!

Stannous Flouride
Community Member
10 months ago

Originally it was recited while giving what would later be known as the Nazi salute. In the 60s I was part of a mass class-action lawsuit that said refusal to recite it was protected by the First Amendment as a form of free speech. We won.

Sam Meyers
Community Member
10 months ago

I also think its creepy (Brit here) but more disturbing are the "lock-down" practices my daughter has at school. What did they think of those?

Bill Thomas
Community Member
11 months ago

I'm proud to do it anyday.

Karin Love
Community Member
11 months ago

That's fine and absolutely your right. Forcing others to say the pledge isn't fine or your right.

Nubmaeme
Community Member
11 months ago

It may seem that way to some people but real, true Americans who are proud of their heritage and their country DO NOT feel that saying the Pledge of Allegiance is bizarre or cult-ish. (Go ahead and downvote me all you want. It won't change my opinion of my country or its customs at all. Just remember - your customs may seem just as bizarre or cult-ish to someone else.)

Chris
Community Member
11 months ago

Vapid, meaningless statements like "true Americans who are proud of their heritage and their country" kind of prove the point.

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#11

Direct democracy in Switzerland. It often baffles me when I read what the government can pull off in other countries without ever involving the population. Like...yea, you get to elect representatives but it often seems to me that those people then elect someone who elects someone who elects someone...is it really still democracy if you're about five steps removed from the actual decisions? (Switzerland)

OhForSmegSake
Community Member
11 months ago

Yeah, I wish more countries had Direct Democracy

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#12

Men holding hands in public as a display of friendship is normal in Afghanistan but super weird in the west.

European other
Community Member
11 months ago

And men who are friends do that in Tanzania

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Constantly tipping everyone, no matter how well they did their jobs, also causes a lot of people to shrug and give Americans peculiar looks. Japan’s a real wonderland in that regard: there’s almost no tipping.

#13

In my country you bike everywhere. Cars aren't used much. For longer distances you mostly use train and public transport. Also being 6 foot is normal (The Netherlands)

Pamela24
Community Member
11 months ago

6 ft = 182 cm

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#14

Also in Japan we celebrate kanamara Matsuri. Wich is basically a parade about fertility with dicks everywhere. Small dicks. Giant dicks. Dicks as food.

chi-wei shen
Community Member
11 months ago

This means during Kanamara Matsuri you can tell someone to go eat a dick without sounding suspicious.

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#15

Small talk in Poland actually is quite sincere. If someone asks you what's up, you tell them exactly that it's s**tty etc.

Leo Domitrix
Community Member
11 months ago

Yep. And it's not being negative. It's being *honest*.

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#16

Being left off of maps (New Zealand)

Emerald Joanna
Community Member
11 months ago

We are just toooo tiny...hehe

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#17

Whole restaurants cheering when a plate or glass is smashed (UK). Once was in a Canadian bar/restaurant on holiday and a waiter dropped a tray of glasses, the local looked horrified when i was out of my seat screaming “wheyyyyyy”

Carrie de Luka
Community Member
11 months ago

Alongside the suggestion to 'sack the juggler'

#18

Leaving your baby alone outside for their nap, even if it rains or snows. (Norway)

MagicalUnicorn
Community Member
11 months ago

Lithuanian there, was sleeping in balcony straight out of hospital (born at the end of November), this is also very common in Estonia

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#19

Being middle-class with a property having a 6' wall, electric fencing linked to an alarm, automated gate and garage doors (with security clamps over the gate motor to prevent theft of the motor), security gates over every door, burglar bars, and a house alarm system with infra-red sensors linked to armed response with a reaction time of under 3-4 minutes. (South Africa)

Catherine Waite
Community Member
11 months ago

This was something I found very hard to adjust to when I moved to South Africa from the UK. I went from if you forget to close a window or lock a door odds were you would be fine. ~To nope nope nope, you do that and you're probably coming home to an empty house if lacking said security features.

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#20

We have no sun here. Around this time of year everyone start asking each other "You been taking vitamin D?". It doesn't matter if you're talking about feeling sad, dealing with the flu, or missing limbs... you been taking vitamin D bro? (Canada)

Geoffrey Holland
Community Member
11 months ago

It depends on where you are in Canada obviously. We have plenty of sun here on the West coast.

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#21

To get money back when you bring empty plastic bottles to the supermarket. In Germany its called Pfand. Each bottles makes 25 cents.

Katchen
Community Member
11 months ago

I wish we had that where I live. I remember buying soda “gegen Pfand” in Germany and turning the bottle back in.

#22

On Valentine's day, men don't give any gifts. Only women give gifts, they only give it to men, it's always chocolate, and they get it for all the men in their lives, including coworkers. Then there is a day on the 14th of March where the men reciprocate. The gifts are only from men to women this time, and are chocolate or jewelry or nice clothes, and the amount spent is directly related to the amount of chocolate received. (Japan)

Cat on a bike
Community Member
11 months ago

That is actually brilliant!

#23

Eating most of the organs of an animal, I had some people look at me in disgust when I told them how tasty the brain and the heart of an animal are (Romania)

Heins Zhammer
Community Member
11 months ago (edited)

that's the main problem with today's western culture-when thinking of a chicken you get chicken breast or a leg rather than a chicken medley. post-CCCP countries (romania, bulgaria, poland, lithuania, the whole eastern block and the balkans), much like still asian and african cultures, utilized not so long ago the whole animal and did not waste any parts, hence the brain (stir fried), gut soup, bone soup, blood sausage, lard with bread, cow tounges and many other delish dishes.

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#24

I think tips are a thing in other countries, but in America you have to tip almost everywhere you eat or you get hardly judged by everyone. And if the tip isn’t big enough, they judge you too. It’s so dumb.

Wil Vanderheijden
Community Member
11 months ago

In civilised countries employees are paid a proper wage and their tips are an extra for them. Tips are considered a token of appreciation on how well the server did. Bad service means no or very small tip. In America servers rely on their tips to get a decent income.

#25

People are always shocked at in my country: 1) our “public” restroom stalls are constructed in such a way that you can pretty much see what a person is doing in there thanks to a constant crack between the door and its frame... 2) I say “public” in quotes because most of our so-called public restrooms are in private businesses who don’t let our surprisingly very large number of homeless use and since there is no actual fully public restroom to use, said homeless often piss and sometimes even s**t in our streets. Oh- and we have a higher percentage of our population in jail than literally every single nation on earth. (USA)

Wil Vanderheijden
Community Member
11 months ago

A lot of people refer to the US as "Backwardistan" or "Dumbfvckistan" since the tangerine toddler took office.

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#26

Strangers sitting totally naked skin to skin in a steamy room heated to +80 to +100C... and us having competitions on who can last the longest in there. (Finland)

chi-wei shen
Community Member
11 months ago

Some 50 years ago this was unthinkable in Austria but today it's common for strangers to sit naked in a sauna, except for the skin-to-skin part. Even the slightest touching is totally inappropriate.

#27

In my friend's country, Easter is when gangs of boys roam the countryside, pouring water over girls and beating them (gently) with sticks. The girls then have to thank them for it. I thought that was pretty weird. (Slovakia)

Heins Zhammer
Community Member
11 months ago

same in poland still in rural parts of the country

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#28

Queuing politely (UK)

Si
Community Member
11 months ago

I don’t understand the mentality that it’s okay to push in front of somebody who’s already waiting.

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#29

Putting cable ties, branches, fake eyes etc on helmets, buckets and hats in spring time to scare away the birds. Magpies are vicious bastards (Australia)

OhForSmegSake
Community Member
11 months ago

I'm 30+ and I've never been swooped. In fact I used to take refuge from the school bullies underneath the magpie trees because the birds would swoop the bullies but not me.

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#30

Calling a Traffic Light a Robot (South Africa)

chi-wei shen
Community Member
11 months ago (edited)

...and a gas station a garage, and a pick-up truck a bakkie.

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